Monday, March 27, 2017

Garmin 15


Ok, let me start off by saying that my life has been forever altered by my Garmin experience. Every run, well nearly ever run is captured by my Garmin as proof that I went out my front door.

So recently, when the last of my long standing Garmins died the horrible death that happens when batteries no longer have the “will” to hold a charge, I was left Garminless if there is suggest a word.

Doing without is hard. Racing without is even harder now a days. Long gone are the days where if I ran fast, it was a good day and not a short course. And slow time meant that I was not feeling well or was tied rather than course being 3 tenths long.

These days, I need to know these things. For no other reason than I need to rationalize my own effort whether good or bad.

The time came that I needed to find a replacement.

After looking at the various brands and modals, I found myself leaning toward buying another Garmin. But which one should I buy.

These days, a Garmin comes with more bells and whistles than a BMW car. Did I really need all of those whistles?

After all, I wanted to GPS watch to capture my runs and that’s pretty much it.

After some consideration and really not a lot, after all, I am buying a watch not a house,  I dropped $70 on a Garmin 15.

Have I been happy it? Well, the answer is a bit complicated.

The short answer is both “Yes” and “No”. Yes, in that it does what I need. It provides me with a GPS watch, captures my overall time, records my splits using the auto lap feature, and allows me to see the history on it.  
But on the “no” side, the interface is a bit on the crud side. And the directions for it are lacking in the way of real usage instructions. Most if it I figured out just by pressing buttons and seeing what happens.

Two of my biggest complaints are the display and the battery life.

The display only goes to 59 minutes and 59 seconds. Once it reaches this point, it rolls over 00:00 again. Granted it still tracks your over all time and splits, but you have to mentally add the 1 or 2 or 3 depending who long you been out on your run.  I haven’t found a way to change it.

Then, there is the battery life. I am getting roughly 5 hours before it shuts down. For me, this means about every 3 runs, I need to recharge it. Or for those marathoners in the 4 to 6 hours range, they will like run out battery life before the run out of race. For ultra marathoner, it isn’t even worth the effort.

For anyone considering the Garmin 15, this is very much a entry level GPS watch. Yes, for the most part, I feel it does what it advertises, but like your first home, you will quickly grow out of it.

The Cool Down Runner

 

 

 

 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Kings Mt Gateway Trail 10 Miler Recap


Over the last two months, I have slowly ramped up my training to the highest level this spring. Today, this 10 miler was my last big effort before my spring ½ marathon in April. Every training plan needs a hurt me race several weeks out to prepare both the mind and body for the coming effort.

I chose the Kings Mt. Gateway Trail 10 miler for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, it gave me a decent test race at nearly the full goal race distance before my half. I can train as hard as I want but nothing test my resolve as a race does. Second, it was the cost. At $25 for a 10 miler, this is hard to beat.

Plus, the Kings Mt. Gateway Trail has gotten lots good press. So I definitely wanted to check it out.

Their 10 mile course is out and back along the Foote path. The first 3 miles are rolling hills with some really tough accents and descents. How tough? Well, anytime they have to put rail road ties on the hills (they put these in to control erosion), it has to be pretty steep. Miles 4 and 5 are relatively flat with only a couple small inclines.

A couple of minutes after 9 AM, we were off and running. The race quickly stretched out. I wore my Hoka Clayton because of the rocks on the course. There is nothing worse than stepping on a sharp rock. My Hoka's took good care of my feet.

About a mile and half in to the race, I was running along when I heard what sounded like the leaves rustling behind me. My first thought was another runner was coming up behind me, but when I turned back to look, it wasn’t a runner. A Pit Bull Terrier was tearing down the trail toward me. I could not see this ending well for me. But he/she don’t know, came up and started running beside me. We ran together to the next water stop. He started after me again, but “sh” him back. I am the first to admit; seeing a Pit Bull tearing at me is an unsettling feeling. My heart rate if it wasn’t spiking it was then.

It took a couple of miles to settle back down after this experience.

Then, after rocketing up and down (mostly down) the hills, I crossed the foot bridge over I-85. Miles 4, 5, 6, and 7 were uneventful. As I passed the turnaround, I snatched a peek at my Garmin, and then again when the second place runner and I passed each other. I had roughly a minute and half lead.

Back down the hill, and up the steep side, my legs were feeling it. Miles 8 and 9 were my slowest of the entire race. Miles 2 and 3 had been tough, but going on in the opposite direction, miles 8 and 9 were even tougher.

But I bounced back with a nice 10th mile – finishing in 69 minutes and 13 seconds for 10.25 miles.

They gave the race winners a rail road spike which was shaped like a runner. It was real unique award and one that I will display proudly.

Overall, these guys did a nice job with this race (Pit Bull incident aside). Not knowing the course, it was well marked which I greatly appreciated. They had 3 water stops. They had nice awards and a small sampling of bananas, bagels, and water at the end. The shirt was actually a rather nice. Given, they only charged $25 for this race; they had to be just breaking even.

For those who are headed out the Gastonia way stop by the Kings Mt. Gateway Trail. It is a good place to get in a nice 10 mile run.

 

The Cool Down Runner

 

    

  

 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

March Forth 15K Race Recap


March Forth 15k Recap

A couple of weeks ago, in my Valentine’s Day 5k Goodie bag, they gave out flyers to this March Forth 5k/15k race in Denver, NC.  The moment that I saw it, the idea of running a 15k race intrigued me.  A couple of the days later, I put through my race registration.

This brings me to this morning. Standing at the starting line at 7:30 AM with a temperature of 26 degrees, maybe this wasn’t as good of an idea as I had thought. Unfortunately or fortunately, once committed, backing out is never an option for me.  

Off went both the 5k and 15k races at the same time.  A couple of guys settled into lead with me and another guy following behind. By Lake Shore Road, they had slipped out of sight, and I was putting some distance on the 4th place runner.

With no mile marks, gauging how well that I was running was really tough. And as luck would have it, the course had an abundance of rolling hills. Some of them were rather steep. The kind that makes my legs burn and my breathing labored.

Toward the end, we did a little out and back on this side road. This gave us an opportunity to check our competition and gauge how harder that we needed to run to the finish.

The two leaders were still together and looking strong. There no catching the. And, unless I fell completely a part, 3rd place was pretty much a lock for me.

 So keep digging was all that I could do.

My goal going into the race had been 60 minutes given my level of training. The 58:09 displayed on the clock was a huge surprised to me. Given how difficult the course was I was half expecting it to be either 62 or 63 minutes.

But I will take it. I walked away with a 1st in my age award which as a nice gift certificate to use at you guessed it – Charlotte Running Company Northlake. By the way, it was nice to see them out in the community to support local events such as this in Denver. It really shows what Charlotte Running Company is all about. Kudos to them.

Before I wrap up, a strange sequence of events happened to me during the middle miles of the race that I wanted to share.
So as I said, early in the race I had settled in to 3rd place overall. So back along Lake Shore Rd, I caught a glimpse of runner in the distance. My first thought was that one of the two leaders had crashed and burned. Over the next mile or so I reeled him. Then, just as we were approaching a water stop and with me right on his heels, he moves over and stops at the water stop. Glancing over as I passed him, I noticed that he was wearing one of the race bibs.

However, something was off. He didn’t look like either of the two runners ahead of me from earlier. They were both much younger. This guy was older late 30s or 40s. My brain is turning this over and over wondering how he got in front of me. I was pretty sure they were only two runners ahead me which later I was confirmed same two during our little out and back section.

Setting here now, I could kick myself because I didn’t think look at his bib number.  I would have liked to ask him how he had gotten front me. I guess it is one of those questions that will never be answered.

 

The Cool Down Runner